The Ranch Malibu is legendary in wellness circles—not just because its stunning private cottages are frequently occupied by the likes of Lea Michele and Rebel Wilson, but because guests get exactly six almonds (or another equally skimpy snack) to sustain them during The Ranch’s daily four to five hour hikes, and nothing more. Needless to say, this isn’t the kind of retreat where there are mimosas waiting for you at the end of the trail.
Ironically, the food that you do get when you’re back at The Ranch is amazing (though portions are modest). And now, the luxury detox destination’s organic/vegan/gluten-free menu is available even without a week-long stay, thanks to the brand’s new at-home meal delivery service, The Ranch Daily.
I tested out the program for four days and, not gonna lie, I was slightly terrified at the beginning. Would I have enough energy to not keel over during my morning HIIT workouts? Would I be a hangry nightmare for the entire week? Would the calorie restriction drive me to a late-night burrito binge?
Here’s what happened when I tried out The Ranch Malibu’s new healthy, at-home food delivery service.
What the meal plan gets you
As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. For one thing, there was no calorie restriction to speak of. In the 3+2 plan that I sampled—3 meals a day, 2 snacks—I was eating up to 1,800 calories a day, which isn’t that far from what most people are used to. (For comparison’s sake, guests at The Ranch only get 1,200-1,600 calories a day.)
I never felt hungry, and there was no one telling me I couldn’t continue to drink coffee throughout the week. (Phew!) I even had a glass of wine with my pesto-and-mushroom flatbread one night, which is probably frowned upon at the Ranch. (But, hey, you have to get your antioxidants somehow.)
I wasn’t sure how I’d fare without eating fish and eggs every day as usual. I’ve tried veganism and it didn’t work for me. But according to chef Nina Curtis, the menu is designed to be energizing and nutritionally balanced, even for those who are super active.
“People put a lot of emphasis on protein alone, when, in fact, complex carbohydrates and essential fatty acids are crucial in obtaining a full spectrum of nutrients,” she tells me. “All of the meals in The Ranch Daily provide complete nutrient density needed by the body for peak performance.” Actually, I felt just as strong, mentally sharp, and energized while on the program as I usually do.
How it tastes
Perhaps the biggest surprise, however, was that the food wasn’t just good—it was delicious. (I recommend ordering on a week where there’s veggie lasagna on the menu, since it’s seriously the best I’ve ever had.) I’ve tried a lot of food-based cleanses and most of them are not very exciting, but every dish I got from the Ranch had tons of complex flavor without being overly salted or heavy.
I was actually pretty bummed when it was over, especially because I won’t likely be doing it again any time soon. (At $445 for 5 days on the 3+2 plan, it’s not exactly within my weekly food budget.) But for the Lea Micheles of the world, it’s pretty cool to get the Ranch treatment at home—where the only one determining your post-workout almond allotment is you.
The Ranch Daily is currently available in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and Santa Barbara. theranchdaily.com
If you want to detox like a celebrity and get out of town, these are the wellness retreats that A-listers flock to. Or if you prefer a side of hedonism on your healthy vacay, check out this itinerary for a California coast road trip that involves room service and wine.